- Posted February 8, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The War on Terror 'Drones' On
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
Some in the media and across the blogosphere have had a revelation this week. The Administration of President Barack Obama is caring on a controversial program which uses unmanned drones to seek out and destroy terrorists no matter where on the globe they may be. At least from some of the posts and the sudden frontpage coverage given to the program, one would think this is a new issue or concern.
The spotlight on the drone program has been flicked on as John Brennan appeared before a Senate committee Thursday as part of the confirmation process. Brennan has been tapped by the President to be the new director of the CIA. Brennan was first bandied as director four years ago, but withdrew from consideration over questions about his role and statements he made about the use of enhanced interrogation techniques while serving in the CIA under former President George W. Bush.
For those who follow and read my posts From the Cornfield and shared with CNN's iReport community know, I have asked questions and raised the issue of the drone program for over a year. The increasing use of drones and striking targets in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other places around the world led in part to an article I wrote on June 12th of last year, "Obama - The Warring President".
At the time I pointed out that history may see Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, as a warrior and not a peacenik. The President was given the international prize on the hope that his actions would match his rhetoric as he ran the first time to be leader of the free world. That rhetoric appears to have given way to a hardline in dealing with those on the so-called "kill list".
There were other reports about drones and questions raised about the legality of use including authorization which led to killing American citizens on foreign soil.
1. Is the Obama Administration Violating the US Constitution?
2. ACLU Takes on White House Over Drone Attacks
3. Jimmy Carter: US Guilty of 'Widespread Abuse of Human Rights'
4. US Drone Strike in Somalia Kills Al Qaida Leader
5. The Obama Roundup - June 3rd Part 1
There are serious questions that need answers about the use of drones by the Administration.
Should the President and a few close advisers determine who is and who isn't targeted for death by drones?
Should Congress have more oversight of the drone program?
Should there be a special court, a panel of jurists, to authorize writs to strike or to do after-the-fact reviews of actions taken?
Does Congress and the President need to develop new laws and regulations clearly defining the terminology of imminent, terrorist, the rights of American citizens who choose to work for and with terror groups working and seeking the destruction of the nation?
Yes, it is better to have drones taking out enemy position than exposing troops on the ground to danger and death. Yes, we must confront terror head-on. But should one branch of government or one small circle of people act without any oversight in determining who may or may not be a target or subjected to due process, especially when US citizens are involved?
We cannot hide away the truth and shy from obligations and responsibilities claiming "national security". Too often the nation seems to be reactionary and acting on emotion rather than using rational thought and dialogue to deal with issues and concerns.
This is evident when looking back to those days after 9-11 when The Patriot Act was passed and intelligence and police agencies were brought under the umbrella of Homeland Security. There were and are some good points, but a lot of bad moves and decisions were made as well and continue as law. The Congress, the President, we, the people reacted to the tragedy emotionally rather than being more rational.
Even now with the current gun debate we are being reactionary and emotional again on every side of the questions raised by four mass killings in one year, most recently Sandy Hook.
Isn't it time for rational and sane conversation and deliberation given to the drone program and the War on Terror?
As I noted last year, President Obama will probably go down in history as a warrior and not a peacemaker. But shouldn't the footnotes not include mention of indiscriminate or illegal targeting of American citizens or the countless "collateral damage" of civilian innocents also killed by the use of drones?
We need clarity on the drone program. We need to stress again that no one is above the law nor can we circumvent the Constitution for the sake of expediency or emotional outcry.
From the Cornfield, the use of drones is an invaluable tool, but that tool must be used responsibly and within the confines of constitutional scrutiny.
Additional information: http://reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-obama-nominations-brennan-idUSBRE91516E20130208